- Verb. The act of inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates through a temperature-specific heating method such as a dab rig, e-rig, or vaporizer.
“Dabbing concentrates is tastier than smoking flower from a bong.”
What Are Dabs?
Dabs are portions of cannabis concentrates that you vaporize using a dab rig, through a process known as dabbing. This concentrated form of cannabis is usually much more potent than marijuana flower.
Additionally, because these blobs are typically made up of highly concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes, dabs are sometimes known to be very flavorful. And because you’re supposed to vaporize dabs instead of combust them, dabbing also delivers a very clean taste, if done properly. Popular examples of THC concentrations that can be dabbed include budder, badder, sauce, crystalline, live resin, rosin, and butane hash oil (BHO), or honey oil.
More About Dabbing
Dabbing has quickly become one of the most popular consumption methods among cannabis users, offering a potent high and flavor-packed experience. Consumption is usually done with a dab rig — a glass chamber similar to a bong.
Rigs typically require a titanium, ceramic, quartz or glass nail, also known as a banger. Think of them as the bowl, but made for a rig. Consumers use a butane torch or e-nail to bring the banger to a temperature that almost instantly vaporizes the concentrates.
Dabbing typically offers a more potent high and more immediate effects than smoking flower. It will typically produce a strong flavor and terpene-rich aroma. If you’re concerned about odor, you might be wondering, do dabs smell?
To some extent, yes, but the scent of marijuana concentrates does not linger for very long at all. Moreover, dabbing arguably offers even more discretion when handheld vaporizers and portable e-rigs are used.
The overt disadvantages to this consumption method are the necessity for tools and accessories, and the learning curve involved in achieving the perfect vaporization temperature. The temperature of the nail at the moment that you take the dab will affect the flavor, ability to clean your nail, and according to recent studies, it could alter the desired effects of the concentrate.
High-temperature dabs — 340-700 degrees Fahrenheit, or 170-370 degrees Celsius — will scorch your concentrates, giving off an astringent and harsh flavor. Those temperatures also tend to leave behind residue that is very hard to clean. At low temperatures — below 340 degrees Fahrenheit, or 170 degrees Celsius — also known as “low-temp dabs,” the concentrate is not fully vaporized, leaving behind a small amount of oil that can be easily removed with a cotton swab.
A study from Portland State University published in September 2017 has also found that vaporizing terpenes at the high temperatures required for dabbing may produce the toxicants methacrolein and benzene. In other words, if you dab weed concentrates at high temperatures, it may turn terpenes toxic.
How to Dab Weed Concentrates
The technique, upfront cost, and the number of accessories involved in dabbing may be overwhelming to newcomers. But once you get the process down, using a rig can be easy and efficient. The key steps are simple:
- Step 1: Heat up the nail with the torch. If it is your first time and you are using a quartz nail or banger, heat it up until it is glowing red. This will ensure that any small particles are burned off and you are starting with the hottest possible surface.
- Step 2: Wait for the nail to cool down. It may sound counterintuitive, but when you dab weed concentrates, you want to let your nail cool down so you don’t scorch your dab. The amount of time you need to wait is dependent on the thickness and material of your nail or banger. Your target temperature should be around 300-450 degrees Fahrenheit, or 149-232 degrees Celsius, to get the most flavor out of your concentrates.
- As a general rule, it usually takes 30 to 60 seconds for a nail to cool, depending on the material and thickness of the nail and how hot you have heated up the nail.
- To dial it in even further, you need to figure out exactly how long it takes for your nail to cool to your desired temperature. To do this, you’ll need an infrared thermometer and some sort of dab timer — you can use either a stopwatch or you can download a specialized app for your smartphone.
- Step 3: Place the concentrate on the surface of the nail and slowly start to inhale the vapor. Unlike a typical bong hit of flower, dabs require a long, slow inhale as the majority of the concentrate does not vaporize instantly.
- Step 4: If available, place a carb cap on the nail or banger to better vaporize the dab while inhaling. The carb cap will act as an oven and trap all of the heat in the nail to ensure you get the most out of your experience.
- Step 5: Exhale the vapor immediately.
- Step 6: Clean your nail. To prevent residue from possibly changing the flavor, always keep your nail clean. To clean, allow the nail to cool down a bit and then wipe the inside of the warm nail with a cotton swab. For more deep cleaning, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and rub it along the interior of your warm nail.
It may take some time and repetition before you really feel you know how to take a dab. But once you get an intuitive sense of the simple steps involved, it’s an incredibly efficient way to consume cannabis concentrates and use them to their full potential.
The most effective dabbing alternative to a traditional dab rig is arguably using an e-rig or e-nail. The main benefit of the e-rig is the ability to precisely control the temperature.
Unlike a traditional rig, in which you’re at the mercy of the flame and your timer, with an e-rig, you can dial in the precise temperature you prefer and rest easy knowing the nail will remain within a narrow range of your desired temperature. And because they’re heated electronically, e-rigs don’t require a torch.
How Long Do Dabs Stay in Your System?
Whether you’re dabbing, smoking flower, or ingesting edibles, the mode of consumption will likely have an impact on how long THC stays in your body. It can take up to four weeks or longer for your body to fully process THC and its metabolites to the point that it no longer shows up on a urine test. The precise time it takes for THC to leave your body and can no longer be detected by a drug test depends on a few key factors, including:
- How often do you consume THC
- How much THC do you consume
- How you consume THC
- How fast your metabolism is
- Rig: The chamber of a glass water pipe. Both dab rigs and bongs are considered “rigs,” or pipe chambers connected to a nail or bowl.
- Banger or Nail: The attachment where dabs are vaporized when heated. There are many different styles that change the rate of vaporization and the amount that can be dabbed at one time. Some bangers have a vacuum-sealed jacket that allows them to retain heat for extended time periods.
- Carb Cap: A glass, ceramic, quartz, or titanium cap with a small hole that covers the top of the nail. A carb cap will lower the pressure in the nail or banger, acting like an oven to trap the heat and reducing the vaporization temperature of all the cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Dabber: A tool used for removing a dab from a concentrate container and placing it inside the nail or banger for heating.
- Torch: A butane hand torch is recommended for heating the nail sufficiently and dabbing at the right temperatures. Propane torches burn a hotter flame that can damage the nail.
- Quartz Insert: A newer addition to the basic banger or nail, quartz inserts add additional surface area inside your nail or banger, essentially increasing your ability to get the most out of low-temperature dabs. When inserted into a hot nail, quartz inserts act as internal carb caps.